Ride from Bariloche to Mendoza

April 2nd, 2010

Leaving Bariloche (in background) and riding along Lago Nahuel Huapi

Summary:

For the last 10 days or so I have been riding North from Bariloche towards Mendoza. Arguably the Routa 40 and the road of the 7 lakes would have been the most scenic, but also longer distance and much more mountainous, which given my limited time and heavy bike + trailer wasn’t a good option for me. Instead I chose the route via Neuquen, a bit East of the Andes. This starts out with some hills and follows rivers and reservoirs. After Neuquen it is pretty much all flat, with long stretches of tree-less Pampa between towns. This dictated some very long days, often between 8 and 9 hours, with an average of 140km over 7 days. These long stretches of hot riding through the middle of nowhere require some physical stamina and preparation – like taking on enough water for example – but they seem to be first and foremost a mental challenge: Riding endless straight roads to the horizon through the desert isn’t for everyone and often requires a lot of patience. But it also has its rewards, like rolling down some hills, or cruising effortlessly with tailwind, or just reaching the goal with the sun low on the horizon after a long, hot day. The people are friendly and curious, especially in the smaller towns not frequented by many tourists. With my recumbent and trailer I generate a lot of excitement everywhere I show up; in this regard this reminds me a lot of Mexico and Central America. Also, riding through the Pampa reminded me of the Baja California, where it was equally arid and maybe even hotter. Argentina is a vast country; after these 1200km or so from South to North I would have long crossed all of Germany for example. On the map of Argentina this is barely one quarter of the North-South extent of the country! So after the big countries in the North (Alaska, Canada, U.S., Mexico) Argentina and Chile are the two big countries in the South.

Arriving in Mendoza at Plaza Independencia after 1240km riding in 9 days

Photos: http://picasaweb.google.com/tlausserPicasa/Argentina

Page: http://tlausser.com/blog/rides/argentina

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